Moorish Grooves Come to LA

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Noura Mint Seymali: Powerful Mauritanian Blues (The original image is no longer available, please contact KCRW if you need access to the original image.)

It’s not every day, week, month or year that you get a concert of deep Mauritanian blues in Los Angeles. But that very thing happens Thursday at the Skirball Cultural Center at 8pm. For more details, click here. I remember another compelling Mauritanian singer, Dimi Mint Abba, was booked by the World Music Institute in New York City. That was around 20 years ago. So, this is rare stuff.


Noura Mint Seymali comes from Nouakchott, Mauritania. Dimi Mint Abba was actually her stepmother! Together they represent one of the most prominent Moorish griot families, the storied class of musicians cum oral historians of West Africa’s Sahel, the region separating sub-Saharan from Northern Africa. For this concert tour, she joins forces with guitarist Jeiche Ould Chighaly, one of Mauritanias top guitarists.

This is Noura’s debut U.S. tour. It could be the last one for quite a while, too. Her latest album was featured a couple of months ago on Rhythm Planet as a noteworthy release.

Noura Mint Seymali has already performed in Mali, Korea, Egypt, and Spain. She has been playing alongside higher profile artists like Baba Maal, Tinariwen, and Bassekou Kouyate. Her music has deep blues groove and power. Her voice is levitating.

The show starts at 8pm and I’m deejaying for an hour before at 7pm. I’ll be at the Skirball again next week at the same time before a great Cuban concert, the legendary Conjunto Chappottín y Sus Estrellas. More info on that later.

Meanwhile, get ready to experience the powerful blues of Mauritania and likely get your mind blown.

Here is a clip of Noura Mint Seymali in concert.

You can read about more information on the Skirball Sunset Concert series here.